Join us!
Basic- Yellow 120px

25. Approaches for Effective Policy Engagement




Description and Purpose:

This tool is a table providing suggested solutions to key obstacles encountered by NGOs/CSOs in policy engagement.


Use the table below for guidance.

Key Obstacles for CSOs/NGOs Potential Solutions
Adverse political contexts constrain CSO policy work
  • Campaigns – to improve policy positions and governance contexts
  • 'Boomerangs' – working via external partners to change national policy
  • Pilot projects – to develop and test operational solutions to inform and improve policy implementation
Limited understanding of specific policy processes, institutions and actors Conduct rigorous context assessments. These enable a better understanding of how policy processes work, the politics affecting them and the opportunities for policy influence.
Weak strategies for policy engagement Identify critical policy stages – agenda setting, formulation and/or implementation – and the engagement mechanisms that are most appropriate for each stage.
Inadequate use of evidence Ensure that evidence is relevant, objective, generalizable and practical. This helps improve CSO legitimacy and credibility with policymakers.
Weak communication approaches in policy influence work Engage in two-way communication and use existing tools for planning, packaging, targeting and monitoring communication efforts. Doing so will help CSOs make their interventions more accessible, digestible and timely for policy discussions.
Working in an isolated manner Apply network approaches. Networks can help CSOs: bypass obstacles to consensus; assemble coalitions for change; marshal and amplify evidence; and mobilize resources
Limited capacity for policy influence Engage in systemic capacity building. CSOs need a wide range of technical capacities to maximize their chances of policy influence

Policy Engagement: How Civil Society can be More Effective Overseas Development Institute (ODI)

Don't miss out!

Subscribe to the World Animal Navigator to get monthly updates on our programs and resources! Browse past issues here. 


Log in to update your WAN Directory listing